Today in New Delhi, India
Dec 14, 2018-Friday
New Delhi
  • Humidity
  • Wind

Switzerland pips Scotland as B'wood favourite

Though in the 90s more than 20 Indian films were shot in Scotland, Eastern Europe and Switzerland seem to be back in the game.

india Updated: Feb 06, 2006 20:29 IST

Switzerland is back to being a favourite foreign locale for Bollywood films, leaving the future of the recent love affair the lucrative Indian industry with Scotland looking rather bleak.

Although in the last decade more than 20 Indian films have been shot in Scotland, but movie chiefs have warned that the scenic beauty of Scotland, which has already lost out to eastern Europe, and is now losing the battle to attract India's lucrative film industry, in favour of cheaper countries such as Switzerland.

In the early 2000s, Scotland was giving Switzerland a run for its money. In fact the British Tourism Authority published a Bollywood trail to lure Bollywood-crazy Indian tourists.

Britain has been, for long trying to lure the lucrative Indian film industry and last month even the Irish delegation led by its Prime Minister Bertie Ahern travelled to India to court Bollywood.

There is growing concern that Scotland is not doing enough to attract high-profile Indian movies. In the recent past films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham were shot in Scotland. But now its losing millions of pounds worth of filming location revenue.

Bill Doyle, location director of Scottish Screen, said, "The problem has always been with Indian producers that, unless we can offer some kind of financial assistance, it's not easy for them to come over. Four years ago there were quite a lot of Bollywood films coming here - that has now tailed off. They tend to go to Switzerland now if they want mountains, because Switzerland in the summer is quiet, keen to get visitors and everyone drops their prices, whereas in Scotland prices tend to go up in the summer."

Another reason, pointed out Doyle was that there were crew visa problems in the last Bollywood production filmed in Scotland. "As a result, all the stuff that had been set up in various locations fell through because there must have been a delay of three or four weeks."

Amid reports that Ireland, in an effort to attract Bollywood, may underwrite the cost of making films, Doyle said, "We should be doing something like that: it would certainly make my job a lot easier."

Recent trends show that Bollywood locales are now shifting to eastern European countries such as the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Poland. The reason, many say, is due to cheaper costs, including labour, accommodation, food and travel.

In fact, this shift is not limited to Indian films alone. High-profile projects like Highlander V has snubbed Scotland and opted for Lithuania. Scotland even lost Braveheart to Ireland.

Bollywood's romance first began with Scotland in 1991, but it was not until 1999 that Scotland slowly turned into one of the prime locations for filming outside. It was the time when tensions with Pakistan put Kashmir out of bounds for shooting. That year the famous Shah Rukh Khan starrer Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was shot at Loch Lomond and Tantallon.

In 2000, Edinburgh proudly played host to more than four Indian film crews. Dhaai Akshar Prem Ke took advantage of Edinburgh Castle's dramatic profile, while Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi was filmed in Princes Street.

Douglas Rae, chief executive of Ecosse Films, which produced Mrs Brown and Monarch of the Glen, said, "We can't keep losing stuff to Ireland like Braveheart. One should compare the UK with the Isle of Man, which is a tiny island off Liverpool. The Isle of Man has produced 100 films in the last five years because of the tax incentives on the island. It is a tiny place and yet it has given birth to 100 films.

"It is not just the benefits to the economy while you are filming - it is all the tourists that come after, 50 per cent of Scottish tourists come to Scotland because of movies."

First Published: Feb 04, 2006 20:37 IST